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What is "fear" in relation to the Illinois Stalking law?

Rockford, IL |

I've read about the reasonable person standard, and the Illinois Stalking law discusses that a person commits stalking if a course of conduct directed at a person causes a reasonable person to "fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person."

What I want to know if how the courts determine if a person truly holds or held "fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person." How does the court determine that?

As I understand that it's a misdemeanor, the judge can make a judgment on it without a jury, right?
What if, however, the alleged victim is lying about his or her "fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person"?

Also, what is meant by "suffer other emotional distress"?

Assume no illegal threats were made.

Also, the defendant states that no threats of harm or confinement were made. By the evidence examined, there are no implicit or explicit threats of harm or confinement. The defendant believes that he is falsely being accused of stalking and instead there should be prosecution for harassment if anything. The defendant was annoyed about the alleged victim's treatment toward him and wanted an answer as to why she was being a jerk to him, and the defendant cursed out the alleged victim. As such, the defendant wanted to talk with the alleged victim in person (no threats of harm or confinement were made). If someone came up from behind me and said, "BOO!" and I was frightened, is that stalking?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. This is a convoluted question that can at best result in a convoluted answer. For clarification, was the person charged criminally or is someone seeking protection under the Civil No Contact/Stalking statute? Where in the court proceedings are you?


  2. That is like asking what "reasonable doubt" means. The law, in Illinois at least, does not attempt to define it. The meaning is left to the common sense and understanding of the jury or, in a bench trial, of the trial judge. In my experience, juries and judges in a criminal case take their responsibilities very seriously and are cautious about accepting the testimony of witnesses.
    Does that mean they always get it right? Of course not. Bur they do the best they can. There is no other answer to your question.

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